You are here:

Writing Books/2nd liability question


QUESTION: I need some guidance. I am writing a book rgarding my experiences behind the scenes at the Home Shopping Network. I do not accuse, but I do report activities of the HSN process, specific things that happened to me, and abouthosts etc., with no names mentioned. How careful do I have to be about lianiliy issues?
Thanks !

ANSWER: Unfortunately, being a "whistle-blower" is opening yourself up to liability.

You will be sued.

No one can really write a book about a derogatory company or people without exposing them- and this cannot be confirmed to be true, therefore, is open to interpretation and cause for liable. They can sue you for defamation of character, cause of loss profits due to slander and defamation, and punitive damages- the list goes on a mile long....

I wouldn't do this.

If you insist on writing this- I would highly recommend changing the names and company to protect yourself.

Write it as non-fiction if you want, but write a notice in the front of the book (like on television shows) that the names have been changed to protect the individuals identities, and so forth.

Good luck and be cautious.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: The "Devil Wears Prada" was a story based on a real person's experience. It appears I have to rewrite the experiences that happened to me into a story that appears to be fiction. Are you aware of other books I can review tat were reflections of true life experiences that had to hide behind the curtain of liability?

Off-hand I cannot think of any books that are based on true life stories; but there are a lot. I am a fiction writer; paranormal thrillers, and read most thrillers.

If you Google that, I am sure you will come up with a bunch.

Television shows are a good example. Cover Me was based on a real FBI agent that used his own family in investigations.

Most Lifetime (tv channel) movies are movies based on true life stories. Some have identities changed, and some do not (obviously those had written permission).

Although books are limited, because names have been changed, the best examples are movies.

Most every author has to write using made up names to protect himself, but does state it is based on true life events but names have been changed to protect the individuals (usually meaning the innocent, and any family that attaches).

Writing Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jannie Balliett


I am a published writer, Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing, specializing in novel writing, and creative writing. I can answer most any question concerning writing a book, plot and characterization, tighten the prose, and the editing process, and help advise with publishing and the requirements of obtaining a literary agent.


I'm a published writer, freelancer, and Chief Editor and own A1 Editorial Service. I teach writing for my two Online writer workshops.

Sisters In Crime Internet Chapter, The Short Mystery Fiction Society, and Brazos Writers Group.

Writers Post Journal magazine, May 2006 issue, Augusr 2006 issue, Nov/December 2006 issue and soon in 2008, On A Whim, flash fiction anthology, offered in Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.

Some college, creative writing, fiction writing

Past/Present Clients
I have numerous clients using my service through my editorial service and numerous members in my Online writer workshops.

©2016 All rights reserved.